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Eagle Baseball Team Makes Division III NCAA Playoffs

(Posted May 11, 2004)

BASEBALL (24-14, 14-7 Commonwealth): May 20-23 at NCAA Tournament Regional, site TBA

A perfect 3-0 week propelled the Eagle baseball team to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time since 1990 as the Eagles earned the Commonwealth Conference Championship. Juniata won the four-team tournament with a 4-1 victory over Moravian in the Championship game, thereby earning the conference's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. Juniata got three outstanding pitching performances over the course of the tournament. In the opening game Jayme Fye (Philipsburg/Philipsburg) tossed seven and a third innings allowing just one earned run as Juniata topped Moravian 10-2. Fye fanned five Moravian hitters as he claimed his team-leading sixth victory of the season. Ryan O'Donnell (Lebanon/Lebanon) then matched Fye by tossing a seven-inning gem as Juniata topped the tournament's top seed Messiah by a 2-1 score. O'Donnell surrendered just one run in seven innings striking out two in the game. O'Donnell improved his record to 4-1, with all four victories coming against conference foes. Then in the championship game, sophomore Cody Zong (Lewistown/McVeytown) earned his third-consecutive victory by allowing one run in seven and two thirds innings. Zong struck out two in the victory, which marked his third conference win in two weeks. His earned run average during the three-game streak is 1.25.

Also strong during the tournament was senior closer Eric Hatten (Dubois/Dubois) who saved both wins over Moravian without allowing a run. During the three-game tournament Eagle pitchers posted an ERA of 1.33 by allowing four earned runs in 27 innings. The Eagle staff held opponents to a .167 batting average with 11 strikeouts. Offensively for Juniata, Walt Goedkoop (Manheim Township/Lancaster) hit a team-high .500 on the week with three runs scored and an RBI. Catcher Zach Sternberg (McCaskey/Lancaster) was one of four Eagles with four hits on the week while adding two RBI and two runs scored. David Saintz (Titusville/Titusville) had four hits and a team-high four RBI and three runs scored. Darren Hake (Red Lion/Red Lion) and Will Russell (Tyrone Area/Tyrone) each had four hits with Russell scoring twice and driving in two, and Hake driving in a pair and scoring one. Troy Beaver (Bellwood-Antis/Bellwood) scored four runs to lead the team while Marc Frailey (Middletown/Middletown) had a pair of hits in the championship game and matched Saintz with four RBI.

TRACK AND FIELD: May 15 at Frostburg Invitational

Juniata had several competitors compete at the Penn State Open in an effort to earn qualifying marks for the NCAA Championships. For the women, the Eagles record-setting relay team claimed first place in the 4x400 relay. Meredith Troutman (Meyersdale/Meyersdale), Elena Amato (Notre Dame Prep/Baltimore, Md,), Julianna Hillegass (Shanksville-Stonycreek/Berlin) and Stefanie Rynkewitz (Lewistown/Lewistown) covered the distance in a time of 4:01.96, which claimed first-place for the Eagles. Juniata was just shy of matching the school record the team set at the MAC Championships last week. Troutman and Rynkewitz teamed up to place second and fourth respectively in the open 400. Amato earned a fourth-place finish for Juniata in the 800 meters to round out the women's running performances. In the field events, Kira Troutman (Line Mountain/Valley View) earned a fourth-place finish for the Eagles in the javelin. Troutman registered a toss of 133' 6" one inch shy of her winning throw at the MAC meet. On the men's side Chris Sheaffer (Central York/York) led the way with an 11th-place finish in the 1,500. Mike Vella (Hollidaysburg/Hollidaysburg) and Justin Fritzius (Central York/York) rounded out Juniata's places by posting 12th and 13th-place finishes respectively in the 1,500.

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.